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UCD-STAFFORDBEER  October 2009

UCD-STAFFORDBEER October 2009

Subject:

Re: objectivity, physical reality and human beings

From:

Roger Harnden <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 14 Oct 2009 22:15:22 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (191 lines)

Javier.

I am not sure that I agree about your view of Maturana.

In particular, I don't think he is after all saying anything so  
radical. I tend to agree with von Glasersfeld, that Maturana is very  
much in the tradition of Kant. The only difference is that he  
consciously beds his findings in terms of biology and, indeed,  
continually protests at those who try and put him into a  
'philosophical' box rather than a biological one.

I think it does have implications for the governance of the planet.  
His insights intrinsically advocate variety and the coexistence of  
difference - precisely the necessary fundaments for ecological well- 
being, and, I would hazard, for social well-being. He also explicitly  
situates human beings in terms of both culture and a cosmos that  
directly relates to the individual unmitigated by social forms. His  
separation of formal religion from this (I believe he is a practising  
RC), I find exemplary.

His approach vociferously and consistently warns against the hegemony  
of any single view as to reality (whether psychic, social, spiritual  
or political). It is a world view which passionately argues for  
tolerance, love and the primacy of human interrelationships. This in  
spite of the fact that on a personal level he (like Stafford) tends to  
be arrogant and (possibly) intolerant, in that he believes that his  
own view is RIGHT.

Roger


On 14 Oct 2009, at 16:17, Arthur Dijkstra wrote:

> Thanks Roger,
> I like this stuff and I think I understand Javier. I have two  
> monitors on my
> pc. On the left is your deep thinking and reference to Maturana on  
> the right
> monitor I read and write about effective communication in airline  
> crews. You
> can imagine the gap between the two. I find it very challenging to  
> use 2nd
> order cyb insights for the Crew Resource Management (CRM) sessions.
> Traditional CRM is very positivistic, mechanical, Cartesian, as if  
> people
> need re-programming to behave according the standards. A  
> naturalistic, 2nd
> order approach would be 'closer' to  the way people behave but such  
> CRM
> training has not been developed (yet).
> If you view 'humanness' as emergent it is not physical. When a  
> person dies
> the emergent properties (the person and his identity) are lost, the  
> physical
> is still there...
>
> Anyway just a reaction to show that I (still ;-))read your postings.
> Rgds
> Arthur
>
> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
> Van: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Namens Roger Harnden
> Verzonden: woensdag 14 oktober 2009 17:02
> Aan: [log in to unmask]
> Onderwerp: Re: objectivity, physical reality and human beings
>
> For myself, Javier, it came as a shock to realise that my instinct was
> to attribute 'humanness' to the category 'physical'. This was not an
> insight into Maturana, but into my own 'blindspots'. Maturan, simply
> provided a 'trigger'.
>
> I realise that many human beings would not have fallen into my own
> 'trap', but would have always understood that humans are not simply
> 'physical'. So, I suppose I was taking myself as an example of the
> culture he is criticising, in order to try and make something of my
> own understandings.....
>
> Roger
>
>
> On 14 Oct 2009, at 15:50, Javier Livas wrote:
>
>> Roger:
>>
>> Honestly, I take Maturana's statements as "What ifs statements" that
>> is to say that he is exploring a completely different way of looking
>> at things, humans included. What is not clear is what Maturana
>> expects from this radically different way of seeing the world. Does
>> that make us better persons, for instance? Or does that just confuse
>> us beyond repair? What does he want to happen with his approach?
>> Does this help the governance of the planet? I simply cannot see
>> very far. I hope he could have given a better understandable
>> explanation. If you need a PH D to understand then it is not likely
>> to succeed.
>>
>> Thank you,
>>
>> Javier Livas
>>
>>
>> On Oct 14, 2009, at 9:14 AM, Roger Harnden wrote:
>>
>>> Maturana dismisses human beings as being 'physical', which at first
>>> comes as a shock.
>>>
>>> However, as he says: "When `I look at a rock I do not say that it
>>> is 'dead'.  I say that it is not living, or that it is a rock, or
>>> that it is physical."
>>>
>>> He goes on to reflect the mistakes made culturally because of the
>>> blind or unthought assumption that a human being (or any other life
>>> form) is in fact 'physical'. And I have to say he has a point here
>>> - I for one did always consider human beings as physical. And he
>>> then relates this assumption with assumptions as to objectivity and
>>> 'an independent reality':
>>>
>>>
>>> 'We belong to a culture that operates in terms of considering that
>>> we human beings exist immersed in an independent reality. This
>>> attitude is what makes us speak as if we human beings were physical
>>> entities existing in a physical space, and it is this attitude that
>>> leads us to give to the science of physics the epistemological
>>> preponderance that it now holds. But the understanding of living
>>> systems and of human beings shows that living systems are systemic
>>> entities and that cognition is a manner of relating, and not a way
>>> of referring to an independent reality that cannot be known or even
>>> talked about."
>>>
>>> Roger
>>>
>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
>>>
>>> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:
> www.platformforchange.org
>>>
>>> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at -
> https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html
>>>
>>> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at -
> http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
>>
>> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:
> www.platformforchange.org
>>
>> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at -
> https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html
>>
>> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at -
> http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
>
> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:
> www.platformforchange.org
>
> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at -
> https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html
>
> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at -
> http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
>
> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:  www.platformforchange.org
>
> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html
>
> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org

For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:  www.platformforchange.org

METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html

Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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